I’ve been to many professional basketball games in my life but today was something different, I could feel it from the moment I arrived in Dallas. My girlfriend and I made the 4 hour trip from Austin to Dallas to watch the Lakers take on the Mavericks. For the last few weeks I’ve been trying to disconnect from the internet as much as possible, before I would try to Snap chat or take a picture for Twitter at all times. Now, I just post my thought or picture and I keep it moving, I don’t look to answer people or defend my opinion. Of course I took a few pictures but for the most part I was focused on what was happening around me.
You know how when the home team gets introduced the lights get dimmed and this cool video gets played on the big screen, and some dope ass music gets played? As I sat there and took in the moment, I realized something. Every fan in that stadium was there to watch those players on the court. We were there to celebrate the hard work and dedication these athletes have put in since they were kids. It made me a bit emotional as I took it all in, these guys have dedicated their life to the game of basketball and they reached the highest level. Being a creative I try to pull inspiration from all places, and something that small or minuscule to most people isn’t much but to me it was.
As the game started the Lakers looked like they had felt that same inspiration I had. But let me stop the warm fuzzy feelings right here because that’s where good stuff stopped happening for Los Angeles. I remember fondly looking up at the scoreboard and it was 20-20. The final score ended it up being 122-73, that means the score from that second forward was 102-53. That is absolutely terrible, it resulted in the worst lost in the Lakers illustrious history. The Mavs shredded the Lakers defense all night. It looked like a hot knife was cutting through butter, I was so mad I wanted to punch an infant. There was something I kept saying all game that my girlfriend said I should name this story and and of course I don’t want no problems so that’s what I named it. What I kept saying what seemed like every time the Lakers were on defense was, “STAY ON YOUR DAMN FEET!”
Every time the Lakers close out on a shot they bite for the pump fake and jump in the air. The SECOND you leave your feet in the NBA you are as good as done. You give the offensive player the option to pump, dribble, and shoot. They could drive the lane and finish, or they can drive and dish. I know it’s hard not to take the bait but the Lakers have to start closing out without getting off balance. Until then, Los Angeles can expect to be schooled like this many more times. There is no back side or help defense either, that’s down right unacceptable. Even in street ball it’s an unspoken rule that if your teammate gets blown by you come and try to contest the shot. I literally saw ALL five Lakers stare at Dirk Nowitzki while he took a wide open 18 foot jumper. I took a chug of my beer and yelled, “WHO LET’S DIRK TAKE OPEN JUMPERS? DO YOU GUYS NOT WATCH ESPN!?!?”
I already knew the Lakers needed help on the defensive end, I didn’t need this 49 point whooping to figure that out. You get a different feel for a team when you watch them play in person. In the next three months I’ll watch Los Angeles in person four more times and I hope what I’m about to say doesn’t happen the next few times I’m in the building. The Lakers aren’t as aggressive as they need to be on offense, the lack of that Alpha-Male on this squad is hindering their growth. For instance, Brandon Ingram started at PG, he has a 6′ height advantage over Deron Williams who started at PG for Dallas. NOT ONCE did Ingram try to back up D-Will into the paint and use his size to his advantage. He seemed more interest in settling for three pointers resulting in air balls.
I’ve talked about this before but this team can’t keep playing below their talent and it wasn’t just the rookie. Julius Randle was matched up against Harrison Barnes today. When I first saw the mismatch I couldn’t help but think of good ol’ Shaq and his BBQ chicken analogy, I thought the Lakers would ISO and let Randle go to work over the smaller man. Man, they kept trying to run the offense like they didn’t see the opportunity right in their face. I love that they understand and embrace the team concept but one of these guys has to step up and say give me the ball. Let’s be honest, the Lakers are a walking mismatch for most teams. The Lakers are big and athletic, but for some reason they don’t attack when the time calls.
The Lakers only attacked the bucket when the Mavs defense broke down instead of attacking and being the reason Dallas’ defense didn’t work. Their body language was poor from the first quarter on and they settled for jump shots waaaaaaay too often. Their inexperience was on display tonight, granted they just got Larry Nance Jr. back from injury and starting PG D’Angelo Russell was sidelined with injury.
I want the Lakers to disconnect from social media and focus on the important stuff like I’m trying to. They need to get back to the fundamentals and learn to live in the moment because this moment only happens once in a lifetime, there is no duplicating this. They need to focus during these tough times and draw inspiration from what’s happening around them like I did watching them play in person. Stay humble and stay on your feet, that should be the Lakers slogan for the rest of the season.